Adverse caregiving in infancy blunts neural processing of the mother: Translating across species

Maya Opendak, Emma Theisen, Anna Blomkvist, Kaitlin Hollis, Teresa Lind, Emma Sarro, Johan N. Lundström, Nim Tottenham, Mary Dozier, Donald A Wilson, Regina M Sullivan

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Dec 16, 2019
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Received Date: 24th November 19

The roots of psychopathology frequently take shape during infancy in the context of parent-infant interactions and adversity. Yet, neurobiological mechanisms linking these processes during infancy remain elusive. Here, using responses to attachment figures among infants who experienced adversity as a benchmark, we assessed rat pup cortical Local Field Potentials (LFP) and behaviors exposed to adversity in response to maternal rough and nurturing handling by examining its impact on pup separation-reunion with the mother. We show that during adversity, pup cortical LFP dynamic range decreased during nurturing maternal behaviors, but was minimally impacted by rough handling. During reunion, adversity-experiencing pups showed aberrant interactions with mother and blunted cortical LFP. Blocking pup stress hormone during either adversity or reunion restored typical behavior, LFP power, and cross-frequency coupling. This translational approach suggests adversity-rearing produces a stress-induced aberrant neurobehavioral processing of the mother, which can be used as an early biomarker of later-life pathology.

Read in full at bioRxiv.

This is an abstract of a preprint hosted on an independent third party site. It has not been peer reviewed but is currently under consideration at Nature Communications.

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